Preparing for Christ: Advent advice for parents
Advent advice for parents
Typical family Advent devotions include the lighting of the Advent wreath; the Advent calendar with reminders of the season with daily thoughts and activities; and Advent prayers.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops offers a few other suggestions
(see usccbpublishing.org for information on the booklets that are referenced)
• As a family, make a second Advent wreath for another family in your school, parish or neighborhood. Celebrate the Blessing of the Advent Wreath in "Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers" with that family.
• Ask your parish staff to identify a family in need in your community. Then, as a family, make a series of small gifts for the family during Advent and deliver the gifts before Christmas.
• With your family, discuss your cultural heritage and then identify important foods, traditions and celebrations from your own childhood. Be sure to include them in this year's observance.
• Begin a tradition of giving an ornament to each child that celebrates an important element of your culture.
• As a family gift to grandparents, aunts and uncles, give them the "Book of Mary" and invite them to pray various prayers in the book with grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
• Purchase a copy of Pope Benedict's thoughts on Mary and set aside time each day during the Advent season to explore more fully Mary's role in the life of the Church. Advent is the time when we celebrate Mary's "Yes" as the first disciple and her role in the history of salvation.
• Incorporate family conversations about Advent into a family meal each week.
• Practice Catholic basics by reciting core prayers and discussing their meaning together.
• While decorating your home for the holidays, plan to gather your family members for the Blessing of a Christmas Tree and Blessing of a Christmas CrÃ¨che found in "Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers."
• Commit to one or two of the ideas found at "An Adult Advent," as a way to model for your children the importance of prayer and reflection during the Advent season.
• Obtain copies of the "Novena for Peace and Justice" and gather your family members to pray the novena for nine days during the Advent season.
• Set aside time to explore the many signs and symbols of Advent and Christmas -- including the Advent wreath, the Nativity scene (commonly known as a crÃ¨che) and the Jesse tree -- or to learn more about the life of St. Nicholas.
• At grace before meals on Dec. 1, World AIDS Day, pray for those who have died from AIDS and for those still fighting HIV/AIDS.
• Share stories in your family about the religious men and women whom you know, especially those who made an impact on your life. Consider supporting a religious community in your area.
• Make a commitment in your family to purchase products that are "fair trade certified" during December, especially as you buy Christmas presents.
• Include the intercessions on the Gospel of Life during family prayer on the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8) and the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Dec. 12).
- Prepare to welcome Jesus this Advent -- in the midst of holiday busyness, don't leave God out of the equation
- For parents: How to help your teen grow in faith
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